Raider 7 named Division CSM
March 31, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - Shock waves ripple across the surface of the cup of coffee sitting precariously on the edge of the shaking desk. The sound of reverberating footsteps echo like thunder down the hall, getting louder as the massive figure emerges. Blocking out the sunlight, filling the doorway, is an imposing outline of a man six foot, four inches and 280 pounds, kitted out in body armor and grasping an M-4 rifle -the embodiment of a Marne NCO.
This modern-day warrior looks like he's ready to break your neck, but in a surprising twist, throws his massive arms around you and asks, "How's it goin,' High Speed'"
This display of affection for the American Soldier embodies the next division command sergeant major, a man of faith, whose heart is as big as his body.
Command Sergeant Major Edd Watson, the current command sergeant major for 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, is moving down Gulick Ave. to Building 1, where he joins a long line of strong leaders as the division's senior enlisted advisor.
Don't let his impressive charisma and stature intimidate you, however. He's on our side, and taking all of this great news with a cool aplomb only earned through years of military experience and leadership.
"I am extremely humbled by the opportunity given to me," Command Sgt. Maj. Watson said. "I am humbled to serve the community of Fort Stewart, Hunter Army Airfield and Kelley Hill, and the local communities."
This will be Command Sgt. Maj. Watson's third assignment with the Marne Division, his first being with 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, from 2004-2006. He rejoined the 3rd ID with the Raider Brigade in 2008 and deployed with the division twice, most recently returning in December from 12 months in Iraq, where he was the right-hand man of then-1st HBCT commander and current Division Chief of Staff, Col. Roger Cloutier.
"I can't think of a better man for the job," Col. Cloutier said. "I can't think of a better Soldier ... the division will benefit because he will be a part of the command team leading our Soldiers."
The current Raider 7 is built like a tank - fitting for a man with such intense drive.
"I would like to be viewed as a catalog of knowledge and as an inspired leader for others to emulate," Command Sgt. Maj. Watson said. "I hope that I am seen as an effective communicator, as a supporter of our DA Civilians, Families, Soldiers and employees of the installation, and as an added strength to the things I encounter."
He said that he looks forward to supporting the commanding general's guidance and directives, and taking care of Soldiers.
"I look forward to what lies ahead for this division," he said. "I look forward to taking care of Families and continuing to improve, in whatever capacity I can, the quality of life for the Soldiers and Families."
Command Sergeant Major Watson remains steadfast in his beliefs that his main role is to support the Soldiers and Families of the 3rd ID.
"My philosophy as a command sergeant major is, first of all, to support Soldiers, support training and support Families," he said. "Secondly, it is to continue working with the community to better the community that our Soldiers and Families live and serve in."
And his most recent battle buddy knows that Command Sgt. Maj. Watson is the right man for the job.
"He brings a tremendous amount of experience to the position," said Col. Cloutier. "He loves Soldiers, and he's not new to the Marne Division. In fact, when he gets cut he bleeds Marne blue and white."
He is first and foremost a Family man. He and his wife of almost 24 years, Sharon, have three daughters - Chardonnay, 23, and Charvondra, 18, who both attend Valdosta State University, and Charnia, 11.
"(Charnia) reminds me that I am young every day," he said. "Whenever I need a jolt of energy, I just grab a hold of her."
The current Raider 7 credits his Family as the driving force behind his successful career as a noncommissioned officer.
"The person who has made it all possible for me is my wife," he said. "She is the love of my life, the balance for me. She keeps everything in perspective; even when I see things cloudy, she focuses the lens for me daily."
Even as a young boy, he knew he wanted to serve his country after seeing his brother-in-law, an Airman who served in Vietnam, pass through his hometown of Atmore, Ala. - a town with a population of about 7,000 on the Florida border of southwest Alabama - on his way to an NCO course with three other servicemembers.
"I was amazed and I was impressed (by them)," said Command Sgt. Maj. Watson. "They were clean cut, they were respectful of my grandmother, they talked about their experiences in Vietnam and they talked about how they bettered themselves.
"I said then as a little boy, 'I want to be a part of that, I want to do something for my country.' That drove me and continues to drive me now."
At 17, he visited the National Guard Armory in his hometown, met with an Army recruiter and entered the delayed entry program. In June 1981, he officially became a Soldier.
"I was driven, I knew exactly what I was doing. I said, 'I am going to be a Soldier,' and that is all that mattered," Command Sgt. Maj. Watson said.
After nearly 30 years of service to his country, Command Sgt. Maj. Watson enjoys spending time with his Family and the community, and allows himself to hit the links in his free time.
"During my off time I like to attempt to play golf," he said. "I think it is very relaxing and I think you just meet some great people with deep visions on the golf course."
The newest Marne 7 is cognizant of the fact that he has not made the climb to his now-lofty position on his own.
"I attribute my success to the Soldiers that I have worked with and the leaders I have worked for; to the Families that I have supported and the Families that have supported me, because without them I would not be here," he said. "We don't get to these positions by ourselves. As you rise, you pull someone else with you. Other leaders have put genuine time into me and coached, mentored and led me and pulled me along and ensured I was doing the right thing. I hope I am worth their investment."